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January 09, 2009

Are you my daughter’s mother ... or do you just look like you should be?

Laura The other day I was driving my 2-year-old daughter, C, to daycare, when I saw a woman crossing the street who looked exactly like my child.

Not only was she blond, which I am not even on a good hair day, but she was also wearing the exact same outfit as C. (Not a onesie, thank God. Now that would've been weird.) Gray top? Check. Black pants? Check. Ballet flats? Check. Short ponytail on top of her head? Check. Seriously. I looked at her, then I looked at C, then back at her before noticing the light was green and it might be a good idea to go.

Now, there are plenty of blond women in this city, but when I saw her, my first instinct was twofold: a) to yell out and ask if I could take her picture (decided against it because I didn't want to sound pervy); and then, b) hide my child lest she think that's her real mom, that she was somehow switched at birth and ended up with this dark-haired, dark-eyed stranger.

Who was this "Mommelganger,” exactly, and how dare she look like my baby right in front of me!

It tapped into one of my neuroses that my husband loves to make fun of me for. Ever since C was born, I have been mildly obsessed with the difference between her features and mine. Like I said, I have dark hair and eyes and never imagined that I would have a blond child. It seemed genetically improbable. Shows you how well I did in biology.

I obviously love the way she looks. No question. It’s more that I want her to know without a doubt that I belong to her and she belongs to me, no matter who comes along and has physical, emotional or other attributes that are more similar to hers than mine are. I want her to know that we’re made of the same stuff, no matter what the packaging looks like.

Finding my courage, I turned around to my daughter, trying to see if she had noticed the faux mommy and was now trying to break free from her car seat in an effort to track this woman down.

Turns out she didn't notice. She was too busy balancing a toy bunny on her head and laughing to herself.

Just to make sure, though, I asked, "Sweetheart, where's Mama?"

She smiled and pointed to me. Thank God.

Original LA Moms Blog post

Laura Clark also writes at her blog, L.A. Story, where she and her toddler daughter explore Los Angeles one baby step at a time.


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